Avg. Price Paid:$13,689 - $15,971
Original MSRP: $33,195 - $36,695
MPG: 17 City / 22 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2008 Acura RDX Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Acura RDX was new.

The 2008 Acura RDX is applauded for its lively turbocharged engine (a first for Acura), sporty handling and standard AWD. Most reviewers enjoy driving the Acura RDX, which is perfectly adept at handling corners and ideal for in-town driving

Most test drivers agree that the Acura RDX is a "thrill" and "exciting to drive," as Edmunds explains. Cars.com credits the RDX's Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system and engine with making it such a pleasure on the road: "At the end of the day, the RDX gives a sporting feel when you want it, but doesn't give up anything for an everyday commuter or errand-runner." The Los Angeles Times also agrees, admiring the RDX's performance abilities: "What I didn't expect in the RDX was that it would be such a screaming hoot to drive. With the casually muscular, taut and tuned feel of a proper sport sedan, the RDX rips corners a new one." Many have also compared it with the BMW X3, and the Acura RDX seems to hold its own. As the Arizona Republic explains, "Here's where RDX really shines, with crisp handling that trumps X3."

According to MSN, "Although firm, the ride is supple and more comfortable than that of the BMW X3." Meanwhile some, such as New Car Test Drive and our own U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman, found that the ride wasn't as smooth as expected for a premium-priced SUV.

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Acura RDX is equipped with a turbocharged 2.3-liter, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It has a five-speed automatic transmission.

Most reviewers commen positively about the Acura RDX's turbocharged engine, which delivers good power. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman writes that "performance is quite sound, with lively pickup from a turbocharged four-cylinder 240-horsepower engine." CNET also explains, "The RDX's 2.3-liter engine delivers impressive thrust (as its torque rating implies), and the vehicle scoots eagerly with every shift of the five-speed automatic transmission." Forbes detected "virtually no turbo lag" in its RDX test drive, which matches most reports that the turbocharger kicks in very quickly.

Regarding the transmission, the Boston Globe reports, "In normal mode, the transmission makes seamless shifts at relatively relaxed r.p.m. Slip into sport mode, however, and the same transmission gets aggressive, running up the r.p.m. for a driver intent on upshifts, and holding r.p.m. on downshifts."

Gas mileage for the 2008 Acura RDX 4WD is estimated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some reviewers found that the fuel economy could be better. The Austin American Statesman explains that "the RDX slices through traffic with a running back's moves, but the power train uses plenty of fuel getting there."

Handling and Braking

The Acura RDX also received considerable praise for its handling. U.S. News reviews Rick Newman says that it's "tight on corners, with overall handling that's more sporty than soft." During Consumer Guide's tests, the RDX proved itself able: "Firm-ride suspension makes for an agile little SUV." Velocity Journal says, "VSA [Vehicle Stability Assist] and Traction Control ensure safe, predictable handling on slippery roads or emergency maneuvers." According to Acura, the RDX has independent McPherson strut front suspension and independent Multilink rear suspension. The Detroit Free Press comments, "The suspension was very good in highway driving and on fast, sweeping curves in the countryside." And the Chicago Tribune adds, "The suspension is performance-tuned for optimum ride and handling."

All-Wheel Drive

Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) also caught the attention of many reviewers. According to Acura, the system enhances both dry-weather handling and wet-weather stability. With AWD, the manufacturer says, the car can "send up to 100 percent of the available rear-wheel torque to the wheel with the most traction." USA Today explains that the SH-AWD "is sure-footed and helped pull the vehicle through corners better than most systems."


The Acura RDX's towing capability is rated at approximately 1,500 pounds. At that capacity, MSN finds that the RDX "isn't for major-league boat or trailer towing." Autoweb adds that "towing is out of the question, while some competing V6 crossovers can, at least, tow up to 3,000 lbs."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

Next Steps: Acura RDX